Media Contact
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

May 4, 2010

The Great Balancing Act: Helping Fathers Find More Time for Family and Work Commitments

Today careers, every day chores and other obligations pull parents in countless directions and monopolize time and energy. Parents, especially fathers, are challenged more than ever to manage their time wisely between their jobs and families. But from a White House initiative to healthy lifestyle programs run by local Colorado companies, opportunities exist for Colorado fathers to have successful careers and connected home lives.

“Navigating the demands of work and family has the potential to be very stressful for fathers. In this tough economy, it can be difficult for dads to find flexibility in their work lives,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Spend some time evaluating your priorities both at your job and at home. Providing for your family extends beyond financial gains, it also means spending time with your child to build close relationships.”

Connecting with your child doesn’t need to involve planning an extravagant trip to Disney World or a weekend getaway. Fathers can identify simple, and oftentimes free, activities to engage in with their child.

Eat Together

Mealtimes provide opportunities for communication and relationship building. Turn off the television, silence your phone and take time to ask your child about their day or opinions regarding a current event. Keep the conversation light, ask open-ended questions and let them share openly without interrupting. Become flexible and creative during your meals depending on your work schedule. Be open to eating breakfast together, indulging in a meal at a restaurant or a planning a picnic in the park.

Help With Homework

As a father, you play a vital role in your child’s academic development. By helping with homework you are investing valuable time with your child, can better monitor your child’s progress and can help answer questions or solve problems when they arise.

Take a Minute

Make sure your child knows that you are thinking about them throughout the day. Get creative by slipping a note into your child’s lunchbox or notebook. Between meetings or projects take a minute to text, call or email your family. A short, simple message takes minimal time out of your day. Not only will it make your child feel valued and loved, but it will also help you feel more connected to your family.

Communicate


A little reinforcement can go a long way when communicating with your child. Simple phrases such as “I love you”, “You make me proud”, “Great job” and “Thank you” leave a lasting impression. Reinforce those words with actions. Give your child a hug, a pat on the back or hold their hand.

Work Together


Next time you have to run an errand, work in the yard or complete a house project, ask your child to help you. Spending this time together will help take your mind off the task at hand and get the job done at a quicker pace.

Head to Work

Some jobs may allow dads to bring their child with them to work. If that’s the case, why not take your child on a business trip, appointment or lunch meeting. Give your child an opportunity to learn more about what you do away from home every day.

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to State, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.